Background and aims: Little is known about muscle strength as a predictor of disability among older Mexican Americans. The aim of this study was to examine the association between hand grip strength and 7-year incidence of ADL disability in older Mexican American men and women.
Methods: A 7-year prospective cohort study of 2493 non-institutionalized Mexican American men and women aged 65 or older residing in five south-western states. Maximal hand grip strength test, body mass index, cognitive function, activities of daily living, self-reports of medical conditions (arthritis, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, hip fracture), and depressive symptoms were obtained.
Results: In a Cox proportional regression analysis, there was a linear relationship between hand grip strength at baseline and risk of incident ADL disability over a 7-year follow-up. Among non-disabled men at baseline, the hazard ratio of any new ADL limitation was 1.90 (95% CI 1.14-3.17) for those in the lowest quartile, when compared with men in the highest hand grip strength quartile, after controlling for age, marital status, medical conditions, high depressive symptoms, MMSE score, and BMI at baseline. Among non-disabled women at baseline, the hazard ratio of any new ADL limitation was 2.28 (95% CI 1.59-3.27) for those in the lowest quartile, when compared with women in the highest hand grip strength quartile.
Conclusions: Hand grip strength is an independent predictor of ADL disability among older Mexican American men and women. The hand grip strength test is an easy, reliable, valid, inexpensive method of screening to identify older adults at risk of disability.